Addiction Resource claims that 100 million Americans consume at least one cup of coffee each day.
They also report that it’s possible to become dependent on caffeine after using it consistently for only a week or two.
Many will find it necessary to give up caffeine due to health reasons, or because their dependency causes unwanted side effects.
Timeline for Withdrawal
Within a few hours after giving up caffeine, you may experience fatigue and have difficulty concentrating.
Within 72 hours or so, you may notice headaches that begin at the back of your eyes and move toward the front of your head.
Other symptoms may be:
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chills, and body aches
- Lightheadedness or dizzy feelings
- Mood swings
- Profuse sweating
- Poor concentration
Not everyone will experience the same effects when withdrawing from caffeine, nor will they overcome their addition in the same timeframe.
Some symptoms such as constipation may go away within 48 hours or so, while others can linger for a few days afterwards.
Generally speaking, you will likely experience more severe withdrawal symptoms if you have a long-term addiction or are especially dependent on caffeine.
Some factors that may affect how long lasting and severe your withdrawal symptoms are include:
- Your genetic makeup – scientists believe those with high levels of mental stimulation may have a more difficult time withdrawing from caffeine.
- Frequency of use – you will likely find it harder to give up caffeine if you drink coffee at regular intervals throughout the day rather than only in the morning.
- Amount you normally consume at one time – it’s easier to give up a cup of tea, which contains only 15 mg of caffeine than it is an energy drink that may have as much as 160 mg.
Should you Give up Caffeine? Advantages and Disadvantages
Caffeine does provide some health advantages that render it relatively harmless when used in moderation.
For example, research from John Hopkins University shows that caffeine can have a positive effect on memory.
Anything more than 400 mg per day is considered safe enough for the average adult; however, some people with certain health conditions or those who are exceedingly dependent on caffeine may need to abstain from it.
You may want to give up caffeine if you are plagued with:
- Acid reflux disease
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Tremors or seizures
May Interfere with Medication
Registered pharmacist Suzy Cohen states that caffeine can negatively interact with certain medications, particularly ones used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
She also claims that when taken along with antidepressants, caffeine can lead to tremors, panic attacks, and insomnia.
You should exercise caution when using any medication, as caffeine can often magnify the effects of even mild over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen.
If you find yourself relying on caffeine to make it through the day (or often use caffeine as a preworkout), it’s possible you have a caffeine addiction.
Knowing what to expect when you give up caffeine can make weaning yourself off this stimulant a much easier process should you decide it is necessary to do so.